Light Pollution Policy

Light pollution map: South West Sydney (2021)

The Problem

Macarthur Astronomical Society draws attention to the growing threat to the once spectacular night skies of the Macarthur region.

Light pollution is wasted energy that consists of two main components:

  • Direct glare from street lights, floodlights and general building lighting that spills from the intended task into adjacent areas.
  • Uncontrolled light that indiscriminately escapes upwards and contributes to ‘sky-glow’.

The Concerns

We are encouraged that the night sky has been Heritage Listed by the NSW National Trust, however we remain deeply concerned about:

  • The relentless spread of light pollution with continuing urban sprawl.
  • The escalating loss of the cultural heritage that is our window on the Universe.
  • The potential complete loss of the night sky to future generations that may grow up never to see the Milky Way or other magnificent night objects.
  • The unsustainable waste of energy and resources used to generate misdirected light.
  • The financial loss to the public purse, due to wasted energy.
  • The damage to the environment due to wasted burning of fossil fuels.
  • The dangers posed by uncontrolled glare to motorists and pedestrians.
  • The lack of awareness and understanding of the problem at all three tiers of government.

The Solutions

We recognise the need for well designed public and private lighting to prevent accidents, fight crime and to facilitate general convenience. However, bad lighting can be overcome by:

  • Stronger regulation and implementation of existing standards by our councilors and members of parliament.
  • Thoughtful design of building architecture, to reduce spillage.
  • Careful design of external lighting to eliminate glare and spillage.
  • A new inspection regime at local level.
  • Remedial action to replace or improve existing lighting.
  • Introduction of more electrical and mechanical energy control devices.

We call upon our elected representatives, architects, building owners, lighting design engineers and the community in general to take heed of the implications of light pollution and to embrace strong measures to reverse the trend.